I left Tansen a little later than I would have liked as I did not know till mid morning that my room was no longer available. I was setting off into the growing heat of the day. Unperturbed I loaded up and took the recommended short cut down through the town until I hit highway No10. The route was a little more difficult than anticipated and had to work hard to wind up and down the hills.
It is approx. 80 miles between Tansen and Pokhara. I reached the relatively large and modern town of Walling and checked into a slightly tacky hotel; one of several on the approach into town. Walking through Walling I was amazed by the number of children and young adults everywhere. No doubt it will soon become a fair sized city. It already boasts of several long high streets crammed full of shops of every description.
Much to the disappointment of the hotel owners son I took my dinner (and breakfast) at a small cafe a few doors down. To be honest by the state of the hotel room and their toilet/washing facilities I think it might have been a big mistake to eat there. The cafe produced excellent food and went out of their way to source and cook some chicken for me. The owner looked like a short version of Leon Trotsky with a similar beard and round glasses.
After an omelette for breakfast I was back on the road and stopped mid morning at a Hindu shrine. It was up a little climb and set back into a rockface. Apparently a god had struck the rock with their staff and miraculously made water flow from the fissure. The devotee at the shrine looked quite wild with a huge bouffant hairdo and lots of face paint. He pointed to the miracle on a large poster. His humble assistant that had been busy within the shrine emerged and presented me with sugar sweets, dried figs and an apple. Once back down on the road I gave the apple to a schoolboy and had tea opposite the entrance to the shrine.
More climbs, one more stop for tea and then a final push up towards Pokhara. The region was marked by a large gateway. Down, down, down I rode dropping in to the south of the city and past a long queue of starving motorcyclists waiting for their petrol rations at a filling station.
Once past the ‘Damside’ of Lake Phewa I worked my way along the tourist strip to find the free camping ‘Chowk’ on the lakeside. I pitched my tent, cooked a meal and went to check out potential lodgings.